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Sho Baraka “Lions and Liars”
Released: 2010
Reviewed By: E Pluribus Unum
Committee Rating: 8.7 (of 10)
[xrr rating=8.7/10]

Put your L’s in the air!!! Sho Baraka was reppin’ hard with his new project, “Lions & Liars.” I had no idea what the title meant when I got the album or what to expect, but I expected heat just because he’s from the 116 camp. I wasn’t disappointed. How’s that for suspense?

The intro was cool and pulled me in, because I was trying to understand what message he was trying to bring with the “Lions & Liars” title. The following song was clear and painted a pretty good picture of what he was trying to say. It set a good foundation for the rest of the project. The next song, Lion’s Anthem, was a great way to shed light on the different walks of life Christians lead. This song is full of puns and wordplay that will make you smile. He splits lines like, “Yeah, I know a doctor. His name is Jason. He prays that The Lord keeps working on his patients (aka patience).” This is Sho Baraka’s strength. In other songs, some of these jewels will slip past you if you’re not paying attention.

The album goes to another level once you hit “Shut Us Down” featuring Lecrae and After Edmund. It’s an awesome song (and message) where rap meets rock…don’t skip this one. He keeps it going and adds some depth to the genre with “We Can Be More” featuring J.R. You don’t hear too many songs in the Christian rap isle that speak to the ladies from a romantic perspective. The song is tight. LL Cool J is sitting around somewhere, jealous. Ha-ha!

All of what I said has been nice so far, but the crowning song for this album (in my humble opinion) is “Mercy on Me” featuring Chinua Hawk. I don’t care if it’s “too long” for the radio…put it on the radio anyway. This is the song I can just put on repeat and ride. Everybody can relate to this song and sing along to the hook. People that don’t even know Jesus will sing this one. Seriously.

After “My Life,” the sound and feel of the album shifts. “Me, Myself, and I” is a skip for me. I have mixed emotions about “Liar’s Anthem.” I get it, but I don’t get it. The biggest weaknesses for this project are in between #9 through #14 (excluding the interlude). I couldn’t get into it. The songs as a whole are ok, but the hooks didn’t hook me in and prep me for more. Don’t worry. Sho Baraka picks it back up with “I.T.W.N.O.I.” Oh, that stands for In The World, Not Of It by the way.

All things considered, this album was great. The content is solid. The music is entertaining and Sho Baraka brings the wordplay and originality. Sometimes it’s harder to please the fans when the bar is already set so high, but there’s no fall off here. Sho Baraka put his work in and gave us something to chew on for a while and I really appreciate the 21 tracks! With that being said, I’ll be waiting on the next one. But hey, everybody is a critic. I’m just the guy who wrote the review. Peace and much love.

Music: 8 of 10
Flow: 8.5 of 10
Lyricism: 8 of 10
Content: 8 of 10
Creativity, Originality and Relevancy: 8.5 of 10
Credibility and Confidence: 10 of 10
Personality: 8.5 of 10
Presentation Quality: 9.5 of 10
Overall Production: 8.5 of 10
Potential Impact: 9.5 of 10

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